European Screening Centre


The centre of the European Lead Factory is formed by the ultra-high throughput screening (uHTS) activities serving the wider European scientific community and executed by the European Screening Centre. Some of the most advanced compound management, screening and hit characterization capabilities in the whole of Europe are provided by the European Screening Centre (ESC).

Managed by Lygature, the ESC offers world-class compound storage-and-retrieval, screening and laboratory facilities, as well as input from highly experienced specialists. The aim is to support all those taking part in the European Lead Factory project, and to ensure the best possible research outcomes by fully exploiting the ELF compound library,

Compound management

World-class compound logistics facilities of 1100m2 are provided by BioAscent Discovery Ltd. using their automated compound store in Newhouse, Scotland. Both solids and DMSO solutions can be stored, retrieved and delivered with minimum turnaround time. The facilities were formerly part of Merck Sharp & Dohme research labs, and the facility’s highly skilled scientists and technicians have been retained. BioAscent is responsible for collection, storage, distribution, tracking and HTS logistics (i.e. hit picking and support of follow up studies). All these compound management services and beyond are also available for outsourcing.

Ultra High-Throughput Screening (uHTS)

The Pivot Park Screening Centre (PPSC) is well named, because it acts as a pivot for screening activities. Located in Oss, a site dedicated to open innovation and housing the latest generation robotics, it provides automated cellular and biochemical in-vitro screening expertise. The centre builds on decades of experience in assay development, automation and screening. Opportunities for networking and collaboration are extensive.

Photo: Pivot Park Screening Lab

Hit characterization

Now being part of BioAscent, the prior Newhouse group of the University of Dundee provides biological data, medicinal chemistry, informatics analysis and modelling to the screening programmes of the European Lead Factory. The group offers extensive knowledge of the drug discovery cycle over a wide range of target classes based on many years of experience in pharma, biotech and academic drug discovery.

The Biology, Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry teams ensure that Qualified Hit Lists (QHLs) are of the highest quality and value to target owners, with tailored activities for each programme. Pharma-industry standard facilities combined with some of the latest technologies and expertise supports hit identification and follow-up with biochemical and biophysical data, and in collaboration with the SMEs, Edelris, MercachemSyncom, Sygnature Discovery and Taros, resynthesis and hit confirmation data post-QHL.



Protein production

The Biotechnology group of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) at the University of Oxford provides protein production to the European Lead Factory programmes. The group has vast experience in expressing and purifying human proteins for structural and functional analyses using both prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression systems. This paved the way for an unparalleled track record of 800 high-resolution human protein structures solved and made available in the public domain for the past 11 years.

As a consequence, the SGC is globally recognised as a centre of reference for protein production and structural biology of novel, medically relevant human proteins, unveiling pioneering drug target families such as the bromodomain epigenetics regulators and several novel protein kinases.